With the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, businesses are increasingly integrating AI into their systems. One area for this is in management. But this is not an entirely new concept. Many call centres use AI analytics in their management processes; analysing call times and resolutions as well as customer tone and personality (Riserbato, 2022). While this is AI being used by managers not an ‘AI manager’, it is a step towards AI managers.
This concept of AI managers is one that is generally responded to with apprehension. But is this concern necessary?
AI can be used for supervision when making management decisions. One big advantage of this is the AI model’s ability to analyse large volumes of data and produce actionable insights. This can support managers in better decision-making. On an overall analytics scale this may not be an issue. Where there tends to be friction is where this data is scrutinised on an individual level and used to coldly compare workers.
Everything has context, and this is something a good manager will always understand. Workers are individuals and not just points of data. While underperformance in some contexts may be a good reason for an employee’s performance to be reviewed, a good manager knows their individual workers. While an AI may rank employees based only on the data points it is measuring, a manager has a holistic view of their workers. A manager should understand their people, working to understand their strengths and weaknesses, how they can aid in development and what responsibilities they should have. They can use AI to inform their decisions, but not make them.
A seemingly more futuristic form of management is AI management. With automation comes replacement. As AI advances it will be able to perform more and more tasks. Managers are not immune to automation. Administrative tasks, monitoring, reporting and scheduling are all tasks that AI is, or will, be capable of. With developments in Large Language Models (LLM), AI is now even able to write in ways indistinguishable from a human. Even the creative industries, which some may have thought reserved for humans, are impacted by AI creating images, music and text.
As with all roles, the place AI will have is uncertain. What is certain is that we will have to adapt as we increasingly incorporate AI into our lives. AI can be used to improve efficiency and has opened up many possibilities. So long as we remain mindful, we can use AI to improve our job roles, businesses and society.
What place AI will have in management in the future is not easy to predict. It is unlikely that there will be no place for human managers, but with the rise in automation there will likely be less of a need for managers to oversee work. With the changes to job roles that is expected due to AI and automation, it could be that AI managers will manage the AI while human managers – using AI tools -manage the humans.